Canada’s Largest Airlines Call on Federal Government to Develop Safe Restart Plan
Ottawa, May 7, 2021 – Today the British government announced that as of May 17 it will allow travel to and from a select list of countries, and travelers from those destinations will not need to quarantine upon entering England. The announcement is part of the British Government’s overall restart plan announced last month, which will utilize a grading system to categorize foreign countries and determine what testing and quarantine obligations will apply, based on the status of the virus in each country. The initial list of countries announced today will expand over time as the public health situation improves.
“In the midst of the pandemic in February, the British government recognized the critical need to plan for the eventual safe re-opening of international travel, and began working with its aviation sector to develop a restart process. On behalf of the hundreds of thousands of Canadians who have lost their jobs in the aviation and travel sector, and the scores of communities that have lost service, it is critical that the federal government now follow the UK example and work immediately with industry to develop a restart plan” said Mike McNaney, President and CEO of the National Airlines Council of Canada (NACC).
The Canadian aviation sector has called on the federal government for months to develop a safe restart strategy that outlines the metrics that must be met to begin addressing border and travel restrictions. The strategy should utilize a science-based approach that sets out how Canada will deal with vaccinated and non-vaccinated passengers, how quarantine and testing measures will be adjusted, and how we will ensure appropriate electronic capture of health data to facilitate international travel.
Today’s announcement demonstrates that countries can plan for the careful restart of travel and protect public health, while also providing the public and industry with clear information on the path forward.
“The UK plan provides metrics, clarity on process, and underscores that the government retains complete authority on timing and implementation, including the ability to reinstate restrictive measures. As the pace of vaccination increases across the country, there is no reason why Canada cannot develop a restart plan of its own that will allow the industry to start planning its recovery. Countries that establish a clear recovery strategy for their aviation sectors will not only ensure the safe restart of travel and their overall economy, they will take market share, investment and jobs from countries that do not. Canada must get moving,” concluded McNaney.
About the National Airlines Council of Canada:
The National Airlines Council of Canada represents Canada’s largest national and international passenger air carriers: Air Canada, Air Transat, Jazz Aviation LP and WestJet. It promotes safe, sustainable and competitive air travel by advocating for the development of policies, regulations and legislation to foster a world-class transportation system. Collectively, its member airlines carry over 80 million passengers annually, directly employ over 60,000 people and are a critical component of Canada’s overall air transport and tourism sector which supports more than 630,000 jobs.